THE JOURNEY IS EVERYTHING: A Journal of the Seventies by Helen Bevington

THE JOURNEY IS EVERYTHING: A Journal of the Seventies

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Again, as in her journal of the Sixties, Along Came the Witch (1976), teacher/essayist/lecturer Bevington generously threads this journal of the subsequent ""out of whack"" decade with energetic anecdotes, amusing mini-bios, and snatches of casual verse. The journey (said Montaigne) is everything--""to another country, another time, another person's life. And everything is a journey."" Bevington records visits to various Edens--like the South Seas, where one ""found everything/Except the love you have to take along."" There are wide-eyed excursions in Russia (though Bevington compulsively gnaws at her resentment of official bombast and hostility); trips to the Dalmatian coast, to the Rhine with grandchildren, to Australia, New Zealand, New Mexico. Along the way Bevington chats about places and people, long-ago and recent confrontations: a sour Moscow waitress, an amorous Yugoslav, a barriers-down conga line in Fiji, an hilariously inept tribal dance by Maoris in New Zealand. Literary commentary occasionally pops in too--from Pound (""so momentous to himself, so relentlessly vain"") to the ""confessional, walking-naked"" poets (Berryman, Plath, Sexton, Lowell) to Fear of Flying (""more emetic than erotic"") to the ""novelization"" of the Bloomsbury group by Leon Edel. (HB and her late husband knew many of them personally.) And, perhaps most irresistibly, there are childhood memories of the famous: a white-powdered, salty-tongued Pearl White; a dying Wilson; the terrifying night at one of Capone's headquarters; a subway smile from Amelia Earhart; and the time a weighty Ford Madox Ford fell into her lap. Now retired, with bemused, affectionate views of her Creative Writing Class at Duke, Bevington still concludes that ""The world is small. As anybody knows/ It consists of a cloud or two, a countryside/ A road to nowhere."" And those addicted to stimulating miscellany will find it difficult to stop gobbling up the tasty month-by-month-by-year segments here.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1983
Publisher: Duke Univ. Press